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Roper, Robyn Christine 1999 Traditional arts, contemporary artists: A study of influence and change in Irian Jaya, Indonesia, MA Thesis, University of Victoria, Canada.
    © Robyn Christine Roper, 1999. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.


This thesis is a survey of contemporary artists and influences on art production in the province of Irian Jaya, Indonesia. It explores the reasons artists have been drawn to produce their art and how they perceive the role of their art today. Since the existing literature on the subject is scant, this study is based largely on fieldwork conducted intermittently over a four year period (1995-1998). Historically, the thesis examines major changes and developments that have taken place in tribal art traditions in the region since the turn of the century. It tracks significant influences on artists and art production from the Dutch colonial period through to the Indonesian takeover of Netherlands New Guinea in 1963 and until the end of Suharto's New Order in 1998. Using a framework that relates the arts of Irian Jaya to local, national and global influences, connections between art and social context are examined in an attempt to understand current manifestations of contemporary art and cultural expression. The role of international artistic and economic patronage, nationalist policies that facilitate cultural appropriation, and the importance of local agency are explored through case studies from the region.


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